Tom Kane's Blog

A word can change a mind. A sentence can change a life. A book can change the world

It was 140 years ago today, on 22nd January 1879, that Lieutenant John Chard was writing a letter home when he was disturbed by two men riding into his camp at the Rorke’s Drift Garrison in Zululand, South Africa. The two men were survivors from Isandlwana, where 1700 British soldiers had been killed by an army of 20,000 Zulu warriors. The men carried news to Rorke’s Drift of the Zulus who were now on their way to Chard’s garrison.

There were two Lieutenants at Rorke’s Drift, the only senior officers, John Chard and Gonville Bromhead. After receiving the news of the approaching Zulus, the two men met with Assistant Commissary James Dalton of the Commissariat and Transport Department. In essence, they had to decide if they should retreat or defend the station. If they decided to stay and fight, they would ultimately face an army of 4,000 formidable and experienced Zulu warriors, both courageous under fire and more than adept at hand-to-hand combat. The garrison had only 150 men with which to form a defense. It was decided that a force of men marching across open country, laden down with supplies, would not stand a chance against a fast moving Zulu army. So plans were made to defend the garrison.

Barricades were setup with wooden chests, large biscuit boxes, tinned supplies and anything else to hand that could form a barricade with which they could defend themselves. The Zulu army arrived at Rorke’s Drift at 4.30pm and promptly attacked. The Zulu warriors continuously stormed the British defences, but were unable to reach the men behind the barricades with their short assegai spears. Brave Zulu warriors were shot down at point blank range and the long bayonets affixed to the British soldier’s rifles repulsed any who did manage to climb over the barricades.

At one point, the Zulus managed to set fire to the hospital and bursting in they began to kill the patients with their spears. But they were fought off by a small force with fixed bayonets. and at the same time other soldiers managed to dig holes in the walls of the hospital and rescue surviving patients. After 12 hours of continuous fighting, it was estimated that 400-600 Zulus lay dead on the battlefield with only 17 British killed, though almost every man in the garrison had sustained some kind of wound.

By eight in the morning, the Zulus began to turn and walk away from the beleaguered garrison, to the astonishment of the British soldiers. It wasn’t long after that the soldiers saw a relief column of mounted infantry making their way towards them. The battle of Rorke’s Rift was over.

Eleven Victoria Crosses and five Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded to survivors of Rorke’s Drift, including Corporal Christian Schiess who was awarded the supreme British award for gallantry. Born in Switzerland, Schiess settled in South Africa and joined a British colonial unit. Schiess had been wounded days earlier, in the foot, but despite his injury he displayed great bravery by fighting off Zulus through the night. He became the first Swiss national to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2019

You can read a free sample of my World War II action adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

New release Living in Cyprus: 2018 Read about the life and observations of an English expat’s life in Cyprus

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging    

man places a briquette in a wood burner.

It’s mid-January and the weather has been atrocious for the last few weeks. It has rained almost constantly since Christmas and everywhere is dripping wet. Couple that with the cold and you can understand why I’ve been holed up in my house as much as possible, only venturing out to get some wood for the fire.

But then catastrophe strikes and I realise my stock of wood chip briquettes are going to run out over the week-end, and indeed they did. Poor management on my part. So, I grab my trusty little chopper and proceed to demolish a load of planks that were taken from an old fence. It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done and probably the most dangerous… except falling from the top of a pear tree and falling off the front of a tractor, both times landing on my head. Luckily there’s not a lot that goes on up there so I was fine.

No, the danger here is a purely physical one where I have to hold a 120cm long and 15cm wide plank, then hit it with my little chopper. Actually hitting it was pretty hard at first, until I got my eye in. Then hitting accurately without chopping my fingers off took precedence over creating a meaningful pile of firewood.

An couple of hours later I had my pile of wood and off I went to shove it in the wood burner. It lasted three hours and that amounted to two hours work on four planks. I have to admit, I’m not particularly good at wielding my little chopper, so I went out and bought a couple bags of wood and some briquettes. Lumberjack? Not me, I’m happy striking a match and putting it to a firelighter.

Roll on the summer.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2019

New release Living in Cyprus: 2018

Read about the life and observations of an English expat’s life in Cyprus

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my World War II action adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging

image from the book The Brittle Sea

Lady Jane Under Fire
The Lady Jane’s map room was a scene of frantic searching. David James had searched high and low for a map or simply any information on shallows and rock formations to the port of Lüderitz, but to no avail. Eventually Blackmore and George Nance had joined the search, but they too came up empty handed. It was an urgent situation but not one that compelled them not to search thoroughly. But none of them found any specific information on the port. Inwardly Blackmore was cursing Gordon Bellagon. The owner of The Lady Jane was notoriously miserly on measures such as up to date maps. Despite asking, Blackmore’s request had obviously gone unheeded or forgotten. More than once Blackmore had mused that Bellagon’s desultory attitude would end in the death of one of his crew.
“It seems we may have to take soundings from a crew in a longboat, slowly rowing ahead of us.” Blackmore watched the men’s reactions. His first officer looked askance at his captain, a familiar shake of his head told Blackmore what he wanted to know. George Nance immediately volunteered for the duty.
The dull thud ashore didn’t register with any of the men at first. It was the low moan and rushing sound of a shell flying over the ship’s superstructure that made them pay attention.
“That was a shell. Fired from the shore,” James said, turning to Blackmore.
“Get all hands onto lookout and get the master-at-arms to breakout the weapons, then meet me on the bridge. We may have time if these rebels are amateurs,” Blackmore ordered, trying to keep his voice flat and low. Inwardly he feared the worst. A direct hit may do some superficial damage, or it may sink the ship. It all depended on the shells being fired and the ability of the gunners. It was an unknown situation and one where he felt safer taking his chances moving his ship out to sea. Blackmore raced to the bridge and used the communications tube to call up the engineer and order him to make full steam as quickly as possible. It would take minutes because he knew his new engineer was a professional and Blackmore thanked god for that. Arthur Collins in charge would have been another story. Blackmore waited as he heard and saw his ship come alive. He scanned the shore for any signs of a field gun but could see nothing. The town seemed deserted.
David James entered the bridge just as another muffled boom came from the shore. Both men raised their binoculars and looked for tell-tale signs of smoke.
“There, port five degrees.”
Blackmore turned his gaze left and saw the lazy smoke rising just as a shell hit the water a few yards to starboard. Blackmore grabbed the tube and blew. “Engine room, get me steam now or we’re all dead.”
Precious minutes past and all was still, except for the slow rumble and hissing coming from below decks. Eventually the engineer called back and told Blackmore he could get underway, slowly.
“Ahead slow,” Blackmore said in a cold but tense voice.
Another boom from the shore and this time the shell hit the water only feet away from the ship’s stern.
“Helm! Punch it! Give us all the speed you can. Get us out to sea and use your best judgement. Don’t sink my ship, laddie.”
“Aye, sir,” the helmsman said with a wry smile, “I’ll do my best.”
Blackmore stepped out of the bridge and looked astern to see the water beginning to churn and his ship slowly, painfully edge away. Another boom from the shore and this time Blackmore feared the worst. “Clear away from the stern,” he managed to shout to his crew when the shell hit his ship. The stern exploded into a mass of flying steel, smoke and belching flames from the high-explosive shell. Blackmore instinctively ducked into the bridge until the deadly shower of steel had ceased.
As the smoke cleared Blackmore left the bridge and ran astern, down steps three at a time, running toward the gaping hole that was the stern of his ship. A crewmember, or what was left of him, lay crumpled before him, his mangled head crushed by a capstan as the blast had hit him and shot him back, until his body was stopped by the immovable capstan.
“I think that’s Carsson,” David James said as he ran up to Blackmore’s side.
Blackmore was ashamed he hadn’t recognised the seaman’s red bandana that he always wore around his neck. “Get the doctor up here… just in case,” Blackmore said, then walked toward the stern to assess the damage.
David James managed to reach the steps up to the bridge when the next boom came. He turned and looked at Blackmore, just as Blackmore turned to look at him and then the shell hit The Lady Jane and the fiery explosion blasted both men off their feet.
Blackmore hit what was left of the stern railings before darkness overcame him, but not before he heard a distant voice shout out, “She’s sinking.”

Copyright Tom Kane © 2019

Please use the menu system below to read further chapters in The Brittle Sea saga

Chapters

MARCH 15, 1931

APRIL 15, 1912

DISASTER

DEBRIS

THE LOSS

MAGGIE

MISSING

NEW YORK

GORDON BELLAGON

THE TWO MINDS OF MAGGIE

A PARTING OF THE WAYS

VENEZUELA

THE DAYS GROW LONGER

CROSSING THE LINE

MAGGIE’S FALL

STORM WARNING

HARKER’S SEARCH

A BOX OF TRICKS

REBELLION

BALLANTINE LEARNS THE TRUTH

This is a first draft, so please forgive spelling & grammatical errors. Context and characters may change between now and the final publication date.

When published as an eBook and paperback at the end of the spring of 2019, this book will be the first in a trilogy: The Brittle Sea, The Brittle Land and The Brittle Sky.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Read a free sample of my WW2 action/adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

image donald trump

There’s a classic 1950s Science Fiction movie called When Worlds Collide, which tells the story of a rogue planet entering our solar system on a collision course with Earth.

The resulting worldwide mayhem leaves a group of scientists to go it alone and build a rocket ship to escape before the world is destroyed.

Back to present day and we have a similar sort of situation, though hopefully less of a drastic outcome, with the US President, Donald J. Trump, on a collusion collision course with the US Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.

Let me be clear from the outset of this piece, I’m not an American. I’m English and I live in Cyprus, yes, that Cyprus. The Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean where Paul Manafort (and probably others) had their ever so hush-hush money laundering bank accounts. There is a Trumpian Tragedy playing out before the world and it is very much like having a front row seat to a tragic play in which I’m participating – only insofar that I too have a bank account here in Cyprus, albeit with very little money in it!

It beggars belief to a foreigner looking in from the outside that the American people would have voted for Trump as president in the first place. This is the man who brought you the world’s worst steak, the worlds worst vodka, the world’s worst university and the worlds most badly run casinos – ever. The name Trump is synonymous with all things bad to most people, yet here we are, a planet lumbered with the world’s worst leader – period!

So it’s as no surprise to me and many other foreigners looking at America through a magnifying glass, that Trump would end up being the world’s worst supposed asset of a foreign power. The man has surrounded himself with sycophants, fools and hucksters out to please him and hopefully get a foot on the US gravy train that is the Trump administration.

And what is this all about, why is there so much talk of collusion and Russian assets? Two things, money and power. The power is in the hands of the Russian state and its supposed hold over Trump. In most quarters of the US media there seems now to be little doubt there is something to the reports that Russia has something on Trump. Something so bad its made the man, and his family, back Russia over their own country. But in order to sweeten the collusion it seems a lot of money has been funneled through Trump properties. Why? Think about it. Purchasing properties is the ideal way to spend stolen money. You give someone else your ill gotten gains and in return they give you a penthouse in New York.

People in the know about this crazy situation in America know it’s coming to a head. Some people at the White House have already jumped ship and more will follow, as the faster and faster slide into Mueller’s arms continues apace. And let’s be frank, there most certainly are people in America who know the truth, who are either in cahoots with Trump or they work for Robert Mueller. At some point, in the not too distant future of 2019, the penny will drop and the scales of justice will tip, once more, back towards an honourable and fair system for the American people.

The inevitable outcome will be many people in Trump’s circle will go to prison, until finally the lock on the cell door turns for the final time when the last felon is ushered into his cell and the door is closed forever on the sorriest presidency America has ever seen. That’s the inevitable outcome when fools collude.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my World War II action adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on Kobo

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image Union Flag on lips

Deal, or no deal? Sounds like a game show, I know, but it’s a phrase we are likely to hear muttered more and more towards the deadline for Britain leaving the EU. And not just muttered by Brits in London, Cardiff, Belfast and Glasgow. It’s going to be mentioned in many EU countries as well because there are a lot of French, Dutch, German and other nationalities whose livelihoods rest on the EU coming to terms with Britain.

Let’s get something straight from the get-go. No deal, doesn’t actually mean there will not be a deal between the EU and Britain. Britain will not be closing the shutters and locking up the shop overnight. There are many things the EU and Britain currently do jointly that will remain that way despite the fact Britain is leaving the EU in March 2019. Take for example the MNHQ in Northwood, England.

Northwood is the UK’s principal military headquarters site and is home to five operational headquarters which includes the Joint Forces Command HQ, including Permanent Joint Headquarters and the Joint Forces HQ, the Commander Naval Forces North and Headquarters of Commander in Chief Fleet. But it’s also the Multinational HQ which was developed for the European Union-led military Crisis Management Operations. This facility provides an essential infrastructure for a multinational staff and also provides a direct and secure communications link to Brussels. This facility isn’t going to be shut down come March 29th 2019.

But on a more basic level, there are many people, businesses and indeed trades that are either going to have to change or disappear completely. And it’s not all doom and gloom for the UK in some cases. Take for example fish and a small fishing community in the Netherlands in a place called Urk. A lot of fishermen from Urk fish under a UK flag. If a hard Brexit means no deal, these people could lose 50% of their current fishing quota overnight. This sort of loss would devastate a small community such as Urk.

If the UK PM needs a deal from the EU and the only way she can get her vote through the UK parliament is for a handful of Scottish MPs to vote for her, in return for Scottish fishing rights to be taken from the people of Urk, then that’s the bottom fallen out of their market. Of course the silly thing in this story is that most of the fish caught by these fishermen are Herring, which are mostly caught in UK waters. Over 90% of Herring are exported to Norway and the Netherlands because the British aren’t partial to Herring.

It’s all these small nuances that have to be taken into account and ironed out that most voters in the referendum of 2016 had no idea where going to be so complicated.

At the end of the day, a No Deal Brexit won’t actually mean there is no deal at all on anything, it will just mean there is no deal on some things, but there are deals in place, like Northwood, that will continue on unnoticed by the general public.

Confusion will reign for a long time after Brexit, but in the mean time, people like those in Urk will need to get accustomed to a famous Douglas Adams phrase from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. “So long, and thanks for all the fish.”

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

Read extracts from the soon to be published The Brittle Sea by Tom Kane here.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my World War II action adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on Kobo

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

 

image from the book The Brittle Sea

It’s been about three months since I wrote and published the latest chapter in The Brittle Sea and this isn’t due to writer’s block or running out of ideas. This is purely due to my own personal drama unfolding since the beginning of Autumn.

One of my two springer spaniels, the ‘H’ Team, was taken ill abruptly. It was a Saturday and Harvey was mooching around the side of the house when he suddenly started staggering and his back legs gave way. You can read more about it here, but suffice to say we took him straight to the vets. His illness, Ataxia, has been fixed, and he’s making a good recovery. But in all that time and with moving house as well, I’ve been unable to do much in the way of writing. It’s a little frustrating when your head is full of ideas and you just can’t get them down on paper. But, my family are more precious to me than a book.

However, with Harvey on full mend mode and the move to a new home complete, as well as Christmas and New Year out the way, the next chapter in The Brittle Sea story is being written and Captain Blackmore’s world is about to be turned upside down, so stand by to read the next chapter.

 

Copyright Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my World War II action adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on Kobo

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

image woman in the rain

When most people think of Cyprus they think of a warm and sunny beach, an ideal place for a summer holiday. We do attract a lot of tourists and they come here during the winter too, but not so much for sunbathing purposes.

This has to be the coldest start to January I have ever experienced, here in Cyprus. It’s so cold I’m shivering and wearing finger-less gloves while trying to type. Last year was pretty bad, while I was away on holiday in Australia. I must admit I’m tempted to go back to Australia.

Everything is sodden and our new home’s outside area is green with mould. My compost bins are very wet inside, despite being sheltered. The rain has come down so hard it’s pulled off the top of my greenhouse.

It’s the same every year, sunny in the morning followed by cloudy in the afternoon and lots of rain and thunderstorms. I should be used to it by now and grateful for the water, it gets very dry in the summer, but this year seems much wetter than is usual. If it’s down to global warming then we will have to suck it up and be prepared for more bad weather.

But positive thoughts are not going to save the planet. Recycling is one way to help as well as burning less fossil fuels. I already recycle what I can and use ECO friendly wood briquettes for the fire. I am also seriously looking at ditching using plastic, even to the extent of using soap rather than shower gel in a plastic bottle. I’ve even considered using a bamboo toothbrush. But Cyprus, or rather the government, despite being in the EU, seems to do little in the way of encouraging recycling. And for a country that has sunshine most of the year, you would have thought that more solar panels on houses was a must. In general though, it’s left to the individual to decide what to do, if anything.

I may have to resort walking the dogs in a canoe if this rain keeps up.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my World War II action adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on Kobo

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

 

image of a doctor

The national health service in Cyprus is great in terms of actual health care. Admittedly there are differences between the UK and Cyprus. Food in a Cypriot hospital is only going to cater for Cypriot tastes, so if you don’t want your jelly sweet on your plate of sausages you had better say so. Nurses tend to do health care stuff rather than make the beds in Cyprus and if you want family and friends to visit, make sure they bring you a takeaway, just in case the jelly on your sausages has melted.

Where there is a major difference is in the administration side. It’s only now becoming computer driven, and then it’s a very, very slow process. Repeat prescriptions are not printed by a computer, in fact no prescriptions are automated, they all have to be written out by the doctor, by hand. Registering with a doctor is pretty straightforward, if you don’t mind standing in a queue for long stretches of time.

Where we do have a slight problem is with the language. I cannot get my head around the Greek language, it’s all Greek to me. But as most Cypriots speak a good level of English it’s rarely a problem. What is a problem is the confusion in how their system works. I’m not confused, the doctors and nurses are the ones who are confused by their own system. Yesterday was a good example. Last week I was told by my diabetic doctor I needed a new monitor to check my blood sugar. He told me I needed to see the diabetic nurse at Larnaca General Hospital. He even telephoned her for me to arrange an appointment at 11am on Friday.

I duly turned up at eleven and the nurse was confused, she couldn’t remember anything about the conversation she had with the doctor on Tuesday. When the penny did eventually drop, she asked me for my prescription book.

“I haven’t brought it. Nobody told me I needed that!”

“Yes, yes,” she answered. “Come back Monday. I will not be here but I will tell the nurse on duty what you need. She will get the prescription from the duty doctor. Everything will be fine.”

Famous last words.

At eleven, again, I turned up and the nurse had no idea why I was there. At the same time as dealing with me she managed to deal with a distraught Irish lady who needed testing strips from the pharmacy but couldn’t get any. A doctor who had a laugh and a joke with her and three phone calls.

Finally she managed to make a phone call to the pharmacy who informed her there were no testing machines, they were out of stock. She also spoke to my doctor on the phone who was confused as to why I was there and why he had not written out the prescription. He wasn’t the only one who was confused. Why send me to Larnaca Hospital without a prescription? What was the point in that?

At that point an elderly couple walked in on my meeting and began regaling the nurse with some ripe language in Greek! That was my queue to leave and wash my hands of another wasted day. At 63 years old it’s not as if I have many days left to waste.

So, confusion reigned and the upshot is I have to see my doctor today to get a prescription for the new blood testing machine. An entire week has gone by because of this confusion and I’m still non the wiser as to what is actually going to happen.

Good job I wasn’t  in for a heart by-pass, who knows what I may have ended up with.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

Read extracts from the soon to be published The Brittle Sea by Tom Kane here.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my World War II action adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on Kobo

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image of the Modane train disaster

In December 1917 the Great War had been raging since 1914 and many lives had been lost in combat on both sides. In the period coming up to Christmas that year, French soldiers were travelling back from fighting in Italy and attempting to go home. Travel was difficult in the Alps at the best of times, but this party of an estimated one thousand soldiers and officers were attempting the journey by train. Their journey was to start in Turin, Italy and take them across the Alps to Lyon in France.

A single locomotive had nineteen carriages attached to it, but the train driver was refusing to leave the station in Turin. Sixteen of the carriages had no brakes and the driver was concerned for the safety of his train. Though the locomotive was capable of pulling the carriages loaded with men and their equipment, his concern was that he would be unable stop such a heavily laden train.

As most of Europe was at war, manpower and equipment were in short supply on the railways and the railway lines were considerably overloaded.  The French officers naturally wanted their men to be home by Christmas and the driver’s warnings were dismissed. At one point an officer pulled a gun on the driver and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t get the train started. Reluctantly the driver agreed, and the train started its slow journey up and through the mountains.

Approaching the town of Modane, the train came out of the Cern tunnel and began a steep descent. But as the driver had warned, the brakes on the train were too inadequate to slow the train and the sheer weight of the carriages pushed the train faster and faster down the steep gradient. The train careered wildly down the steep track and was out of control by the time it came to the bottom of the descent, near a wooden bridge. It was then that the first carriage shot of the rails and the remaining carriages crashed into each other. The carriages were made of wood and some caught fire, developing into an inferno in a matter of minutes. An estimated 800 people died and in some cases the bodies were unrecognisable because fires in some carriages burned very fiercely.

The tragedy was compounded by a cover-up by French authorities because senior army officers were involved in the decision to begin the journey with an overloaded and essentially unsafe train. Having kept the accident a secret for over a decade the truth only came out when the driver of the train, who survived, told his story.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

Read extracts from the soon to be published The Brittle Sea by Tom Kane here.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. From snake charming for beginners to flying dogs, in ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

You can also read a free sample of my World War II action adventure novel Operation Werwolf – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on Kobo

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here